Thursday, December 3, 2020

HOLIDAY DECOR, COVID FOOD CRAVINGS, RECIPES & BLONDIES RAMBLINGS

 





Hello friends!  I'm trying to stay on top of my blogging.  I am such a procrastinator and I wholeheartedly admit it.  And I do not like commitments so I wait until the eleventh hour.  This got me in some hot water a few weeks ago when my December newspaper article deadline arrived and I found that the regular old way I added photos to my blog was now totally undoable.  I still don't remember how I did it, but I do know my editor was frothing at the mouth over my excuses and delays in going to press on time.  And I never had the time to share all I wanted to during this festive time.  So---for this post I finally figured out that I could drag photos from my downloads (I use a MacBook Pro) and insert them in my blog draft.  This is the only way I could make it work and I'm extremely angry that the new Blogger changed so much with zero explanations or guides.  Google was even using the old guidelines which no longer work.  

What a rant!  I have a picture here from last year.  I love my vintage salt & pepper shakers.  Many never notice that they're not Mr. and Mrs. Claus, they are actually two Santa's.  Isn't that odd?  Maybe the maker never saw Miracle On 34th Street...there is only one Father Christmas!  

I haven't even begun to decorate...my stuff is beautifully organized downstairs but I like to buy my live tree first.  And I'm seriously going to go minimal this year and I really mean it!  There may be no company, no one dropping in, and who knows if I'll be able to have the kids and grands here in the morning for gift giving and mimosas. I'm playing it by ear.






I read and hear a lot about people putting on the Covid pounds; working from home and indulging a bit too much on food and drink to heal our loss of family and social life, it's not uncommon.  But I'm addressing cravings here.  I often wonder if we have them because our bodies are telling us we are missing something.  Or maybe we just get hooked on something we haven't had in awhile.  

I gave up yogurt when I really started to cut carbs well over fifteen years ago when the Atkins diet became a hit.  I still have fond memories of the days when I worked in an office in my early twenties.  Once in awhile the receptionist, and a great pal, would leave a carton of Dannon yogurt on my desk as a little surprise when she brought her own.  Then I would return the favor.  Don't ask me how but we never did it on the same day.  

Early this year I came across Two Good yogurt (this is not a paid promotion).  I was looking for the glitch ...2 grams of sugar and fat?  80 calories?  It sounded too (two) good to be true.  Well, I can tell you, its as smooth and creamy as pudding, and the flavors are perfect without being overly tart.  I believe it's in most grocery stores.  I really love the peach and mixed berry flavors.  Give it a shot.

So, was my body telling me I needed calcium?  Protein?  Were my taste buds telling me that salty potato chips and sweet cookies were no longer necessary? Who knows but I should own stock in the company and I would love a year of 
free Two Good if the Yogurt Gods are reading.😂





By summer my cravings 
 turned into fruit.  Fresh fruit is often a side or a snack at the cottage, especially with the little grandkidlets running around in the sun and heat.  I like a little bowl of fruit when we have breakfast at restaurants, but at this point I was cutting up an abundance of fruit I would buy; pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, etc.  And the best part to me is to stir and flip the fruit everyday to get that refreshing and flavorful combination of the mixed juices.  So no one is surprised to see ripening pineapple with its pretty texture and festive top, or melons taking up space in the fridge.  So, what is my body craving?  Hydration?  Natural sugars?  Something crunchy and cooling?  Hmmmm...





Spicy Ginger Beef Noodles

And yet another must-have food: noodles.  I'll take them any way.  I also wanted beef broth and saltiness.  And thus ramen bowls became a hit in Blondie's household.  You can find a lot of choices of ramen noodles in the Asian aisle of your grocery store, they are wheat based and originate from Japan, but come in many different forms.  

Anyway, I love noodles and I've been craving salt, and what better excuse do you have for taking in a coma inducing amount of salty soy sauce?  I was adding it to food much like kids add ketchup to everything.  So I was making many bowls of ramen and this is one I created and is a keeper. 

Jane's Spicy Ginger Beef Noodles

8 oz. noodles of your choice
1 T veggie oil
1 t sesame oil
8 oz thinly sliced sirloin beef
1 knob (or inch) of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 c (or a handful) of fresh snow peas
1 c baby Bok choy, thinly sliced into ribbons
3 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
4 c beef broth 
1/4 c soy sauce
2-3 scallions, trimmed, tops and bottoms, roughly chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 c fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

My mantra, particularly in this recipe, is to chop, slice, grate, or whatever before you begin cooking.  It's essential for a recipe that involves bringing the layers of flavor together in a short amount of time.  Don't get fussy, just do all of this work at the start and keep everything separated on your cutting board (mine is super large)

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover.  Meanwhile, add both oils to a large skillet over high heat.  Add the beef and cook, using tongs to flip about 2 minutes.  

Lower the heat to medium and add the ginger, snow peas, and Bok choy, and continue to toss approximately 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and toss for another minute, then add the beef broth and soy sauce.  Let simmer on low.

Up the heat on the pot of water for the noodles to a boil.  Add them, stir often and check the noodles by tasting them until they are soft, then strain.

Divide the noodles into two bowls, pour over the veggie/broth mixture. Top with scallions, a bit of red pepper flakes, and the cilantro.  Serve immediately. 






I made a pasta dinner one night last week and while I usually use half the box, I used the whole pound...way too much for The Husband and I.  I kept the remaining half cooked pound in the fridge not sure of what to do with it and not liking waste.  Then I came across a recipe for baked spaghetti, actually quite a few.  I got the gist of it and then put together this recipe.  Feel free to make changes as far as the ingredients and cheeses.  You will absolutely love this.  

Jane's Pasta Casserole

1/2 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked
5 bacon strips, roughly chopped
1 T vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
1 sweet pepper, red, orange or yellow-your choice,  finely chopped
garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
5 T butter cut into small pieces
1 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese, divided
2 T dried oregano
2 T dried rosemary
2 t nutmeg
2 t ground cloves
S&P
5 eggs, whisked
2 T butter, melted
1 c bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese


Place the bacon pieces in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel.  When the skillet is somewhat cool, wipe out the remaining bacon drippings with paper towels.  Add the vegetable oil and once hot, the onions and peppers.  Saute over medium heat until just softened.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute and off the heat.

Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl.  With two forks or your fingers (as I did, clean of course), separate the strands of spaghetti until no longer sticky and clumped.  Add the cooked veggies, the peas, 1 cup of the mozzarella and  butter.  Do another good toss. 

 Mix the dried spices and salt and pepper together in a small dish.  Add half to the pasta mix, toss, and then the other half, tossing again until it's evenly incorporated.  Since the pasta is cooked, you can sample a forkful to adjust the seasoning before baking. 

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish of your choosing.  I used a deep dish so I'd get more density and less dryness.  Once in the dish, mix things together again.  You want everything blended.  Pour the whisked eggs evenly over the pasta and then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered with foil  Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Top the casserole with the bread crumb mixture and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or as I did, under the broiler until lightly browned.

Let the casserole cool slightly, then using a knife, slice into squares.  Use a spatula to serve.  Oh girls, you will ❤️ this recipe!  Serves 6-8 with a side salad or good bread.  Enjoy!





and 


 I found the recommendations for this book on Instagram but I can't remember where.  As a writer I was drawn to it, and as a long time admirer of the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, I knew this would suit me.  

Amazon description: The Editor...is about a struggling writer who gets his big break, with a little help from the most famous woman in America.

It's fictional but based on fact.  In the last years of her life, Jackie was an editor at Doubleday. When she died, her son said that she passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and her precious books. I'm only a few chapters in so the verdict is not out.  Stay tuned, I'm loving it so far.   





I wrote on Instagram that I was well into this limited series on Netflix.  Wow, it seems I'm the last one on the train!  I'm really liking it thus far.  The Husband and I, as well as our older sons, were avid chess players, we had family tournaments quite a bit.  I think I'm going to dust off the old set.




As I said in the beginning of my post, I haven't yet started to decorate for Christmas.  This is a very sweet arrangement my daughter, Emily, made for a cabinet using faux greenery and little wood cutout homes from the dollar bins at Target.  I love her creativity and design on a dime.  I'm going to go very minimal, and to keep that mindset I'm only going to bring up select items from my bins and rely very much on candles and greenery.  I always fail to remember whatever I bring out also has to be put away.   Ugh...

Who knows how Christmas will be.  Our Thanksgiving family get-together was gathering in our backyard in 40 degree weather, wearing coats and hats and holding plastic cups of mimosas while wearing masks and walking around in an effort not to spend too much time with any one person.  Some of my family has had Covid, others were exposed, but this occurred well before Thanksgiving and they were all cleared.  Still...

Christmas is a toss up.  We've thought that maybe we  can do our traditional Christmas morning brunch and gift giving, at least for the sake the grands.  Even my children have gotten overly sentimental about it.  I'm hoping with the right protection: ventilation, masks, staying apart from one another and limiting our time, we might manage it.  No decisions yet.  



Emily found this discarded, once sad looking sleigh.  She spiffed it up with a little black paint, and created a cute winter scene!  The best thing is that her daughter, (and my much loved granddaughter!) Madelyn, participates in all of these projects.  She's going to be as inspiring as her mama.  I shared this wiz of a designer in my last post.

Okay, in winding up I'll give you a few things I'd love to hear about in your comments:

1). How's your holiday decorating going?  Finished or in no hurry?

2). Has the stress of this unprecedented time in our lives caused you to make changes in your eating habits, in particular cravings?  Or is it just me?  What are your favorite snacks and go to foods?

3). Do you think I should continue to post recipes?  I'm not a food blogger but like to share some newish sort of ways of cooking that come out of my scattered brain.

4). What are you reading and watching?  How much time are you devoting to these things?  And if your thing is knitting or journaling, how's that going?

5). Do you have definitive holiday plans?  What sort of precautions and protocol do you utilize right now as the pandemic is at it's all time high?

You don't have to answer each question.  As when you took exams in school, if you don't know the answer to a question, move on and come back to it later.😂😂😂

Love and good health to all!❤️

Jane x




53 comments:

babs said...

Love your recipes, please
Don’t discontinue!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

As usual, I like your recipes. My daughter often makes spicy ginger noodles and it is similar to your recipe, without the beef (Vegetarian).

I though that I would not do any Christmas decorating this year as I will not have any company. However, now everyday I am putting up just one or two Christmas items and now, although, I am not doing the big tree, there are three or four birch lighted stick trees throughout my house. Of course, with the trees, tables had to be set, and the mantle needed something, well, you know how it goes.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Your ginger noodle dish sounds yummy! I have just started decorating in my new home. We still don't have most of our furniture, so I am sure I will just do a tree and a couple of wreaths for the sliding glass doors onto the lanai this year.

It's me said...

No plans yet....I am watching virgin river now on Netflix...I just finished Jane the Virgin...owww how I loved all 100 chapters of this serie....after that I maybe look at the queen’s gamble.....like your recipes...I decorate my home a little bit not too much....I will try to make pictures for a post...please stay safe...and look out with too many people in your home with Christmas...love from me Ria 🌲🎄❤️🍀🎄🌲

jp@A Green Ridge said...

WOW! It's good to hear you again with all your ideas for the holidays and food too! I still use your recipe for my chili and love it!! As for Christmas, here in CT, because of COVID, we are not entertaining nor are we traveling where gatherings are the typical large group. I worry about the Pres with his per-exisitng stuff (although he doesn't), so as with Thanksgiving, we are all still healthy...thank GOD! Stay healthy my friend,...:)JP

Michele said...

Hi sweet Jane - hey thanks for the recipes. It's always fun to try a friend's recommendations. I think the Spicy Ginger Beef Noodles sounds divine.

1). I am done, have been done a while but have been too busy doing other things to post my home tour yet. I put my autumn stuff out early, so it looks like doing that means 2 months of fall, then 2 months of Christmas. I can live with that. Did it way different this year and am excited about sharing.

2). I am actually slowly losing weight. My husband eats a LOT and I think not going out so much and over-eating has helped. Plus I am too scared to go get my blood work done so trying very hard to keep my sugar down. I know I am ok and don't need a A1C test to tell me so.

3). Yes, of course.

4). I binge-watched The Queen's Gambit a few weeks ago and loved it too. Now each night before bed I watch a sappy Christmas movie. Dances of Sugar Plum Fairies always better than the horror of real life news.

5). My family has stayed completely isolated since the end of February. We go nowhere and do nothing. My girls doing the same so we call anyone doing this "Our Safe Bubble," and it's worked well. I am high risk so hubs does all the grocery shopping. Always a mask and goes when it is uncrowded. Trying to stay alive in a world of people who don't take this thing seriously enough is scary stuff to us. So far, so good. Can't say that for others in my family who have caught it - which is why they haven't been in The Safe Bubble at all. I knew they were going to get it, and I was right. One cannot live life as though there isn't a killer pandemic out there. One day things will be fine but not now. It's a sad truth.

So for Christmas? Right now so far same as Thanksgiving. Just us. I cannot even think about it. It is what it is. If my daughter with my grand-daughter hasn't had exposure I DO hope to see them to do the gifts. Time will tell. Her husband has to work out of the house and has shared that a few folks are sick with it now, so we're all kinda freaked out again.


So that's my answers - my novella, haha. Hugs. Stay well, Jane. ♥

Michele said...

PS

I answered you about Fresha Soap Company - did you get my response? I hope so. Try again,
you will be so glad you did. That I can promise you.

xxxoo

Thank you!!!!

Mitzi said...

I love your blog. Dont change anything. We have cancelled both holidays with our children and grandchildren.It breaks my heart, but understand its what we need to do.Didnt think we'd do a tree, but it turned out to be just what we needed to lift our spirits.

Kit said...

As always so good to see you! I am decorating just like normal. I found it keeps me sane and happy. Then I can pretend that the world is not crazy....lol For Thanksgiving, we had our two kids come for dinner and games. But only after we all quarantined for 2 weeks prior. My daughter works in public health and is a scientist at the U of M, and she said that is the only safe way to be together indoors. Wearing masks and opening windows helps but is not foolproof. We just cannot trust who other people have been around. So for Christmas we will go into quarantine again, so that we can gather in my home. It is worth it to be together safely. You take care, and tho you miss your grands, make sure you stay safe. Love, Kit

Vee said...

Always so much to comment upon. I tried to answer your questions...I can do 1 and 2 before forgetting everything. No hurry about Christmas decorating. Doing way too much stress eating.

I enjoyed seeing and hearing about your Christmas decor. I hope that you can find a way to keep family traditions in place for Christmas morning. That seems very important.

You enjoy doing recipes and they are a bit elevated from the standard fare making it interesting.

Junkchiccottage said...

The ginger noodles sounds really good. I am a big yogurt and will try this one you suggested. I need to get some Covid pounds off! Happy Decorating. Happy Friday and have a good weekend. xoxo Kris

Bluebird49 said...

Hi Sweetie--hope you had a good Thanksgiving! We had a quiet small one. Our wonderful son brought us food from their house and visited for a couple of hours, and it was a lot to be thankful. I was sick, and was exhausted after two hours! And sounded like a fright train--no, a seal!
I don't think it is Covid but I am wheezing so much I can't even think! I had chest pain about 3 days ago, so I went to ER and they did nothing but CAT scan, and found no mass or anything. I haven't had over 101 fever, but I rarely ever run a fever, either. I don't even think they took my temperature at the ER. Stayed all days for nothing, and now I can hardly breath and am running a fever. If t's not better by tomorrow, I have to find a Covid testing center somewhere--they wouldn't do one at the ER--they're just a joke.--not enough symptoms! I've just had it with them. I have felt a bit better today, so I hope I am on the men--but the wheezing is driving Ed and me both nuts, but he's too kind to say so.
Your noodle dish sounds wonderful, and Maddie helping just makes me smile. I know you will get decorating done and I hope you'll take pictures--cause I wanna see! I love the tree in the sled Emily did!
love, Trudy
Merry Christmas, Sweetie!
Hope

Bluebird49 said...

Oh--our son has been begging us to watch the Queen's Gambit--so now, I guess I'll watch it! :)

Bluebird49 said...

Oh--our son has been begging us to watch the Queen's Gambit--so now, I guess I'll watch it! :)

Preppy Empty Nester said...

Good morning, Jane. I eat yogurt every morning. I put TWO GOOD on my grocery list. I adored The Queen's Gambit and The Editor was one of my favorite books of the year. Enjoy your weekend and stay safe!

cindy hattersley design said...

Hi Jane

I am going to give that yogurt a try. I am not a sweet person (literally!!) anyway. I am definitely going to try your ginger stir fry. Now that is right up my alley! My decorating will be complete as of today. We did a small blogging tour that forced my hand! LOVED the Queens Gambit. I just started watching Virgin River on Netflix. It's part Hallmark movie just the kind of mush we need right now! Happy Holidays to you and your family. We don't go out much but we both are still working so we do get some exposure. EVERYONE here wears masks and have for months.

Unknown said...

Hi Jane!

I totally went overboard with the decorating and started way early in an attempt to signify the beginning of the end of 2020. That may sound horrible and 2020 has actually brought quite a bit of good; March, April and May quarantining with my 3 favorite people and my dog, but I'm ready for a fresh start in 2021.

Definitely keep the recipes :)

My hubby and I are currently watching Succession on hbo max. The Roy family is truly deranged but the show definitely keeps us coming back. This show is not for everyone but if you enjoyed Bloodline you may like this as well. Currently on my own I started watching The Undoing with Nicole Kidman. Good stuff!.

I am reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I picked it up because she is the author of Bel Canto, which I loved!!!

We are being cautious with the virus and keeping our family gatherings very small.

Totally enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing!

Mary said...

Hi Jane, nice read from you today - glad things are moving along at your house.

Loved The Queen's Gambit despite not knowing an iota about playing chess! She is a fabulous actress! Fabulous story, great photography too.

Will look for that yogurt as it sounds perhaps healthier than my favorite which is Brown Cow!

Recipes are always fun to share but a real pain to type up for the blog!

This week I have completed all my decorating in and out - including the usual gazebo tree out back and lights and wreaths on front porch and arbor. Other than adding fresh greens to the mantel and a large container of greenery and berries for the front porch a little closer to Christmas, this is a big job completed early for me but was enjoyable with more time on my hands. A little less of everything this year as we won't be having our Christmas Eve party, and visitors are unlikely other than quick porch moments to hand over gifts, and perhaps a distanced mince pie and an eggnog!

Reading books and Christmas edition magazines - Country Home Winter 2020 is exceptionally lovely. Of course UK Country Living is always my favorite - sadly it's lagging with deliveries these past months due to shipping (crossing the pond by ship rather than air - and being held up in the arrival port) from the UK to Canada - I'm still waiting for my Nov. and Dec. issues!

Knitting still in the evenings - scarves, cowls etc. Looking for a beanie style hat pattern knitted on reg. needles, don't use circular ones - if anyone has one I'd love to have it pretty please. Planning to try some counted cross stitch soon, haven't done any in years - can't see so well now but treated myself to a large magnifier to wear around neck (how grandma is that!) so hands are free to stitch!

Ups and downs in the family - not unusual! Bob is losing weight - raking leaves I think - whilst I am gaining, and he eats twice as much as me! He's heading out to mow grass right now for the last time until spring. Walk now and then but must get out and do more. Nice weather here with warmish days, chilly nights so several fires already but more for atmosphere than heat. Only worn one of my much-loved coats so far - no hats, scarves, gloves required yet!

Sending love and good wishes to you and A - hope your family stay well and you can share at least a little time with the girlies for Christmas!
Blessings and peace. Stay well - be safe my dear friend.
Mary XX


Rita C at Panoply said...

Jane, I love your posts, ramblings, recipes, family updates and even health issues. My COVID activity has been baking - breads and muffins. I need to keep up my muffin top, lol. I have no idea how Christmas is going to turn out, but right now I'm having fun playing Secret Santa and dropping off little gifts randomly to family who live in town. We have to make our own happy!

Scribbler said...

Don't change anything, please. Yours is one of the very few blogs I still read. I am saving your recipes in this post as I usually do. I have been in a funk about Christmas, but I am trying to do a little bit each day. You know the old therapy gambit of "acting as if"? So I have Christmas music on each afternoon while I plunder the attics, and then turn around and leave with an item or two. I am definitely just cherry-picking, determined to keep it very simple this year. I haven't gained any weight, at least I don't think so, but I don't get as much exercise as usual. The weather has been quite dreary lately which is not helping my moods. I am going to bake some chocolate cookies this afternoon, after I put some red ornaments in some glass containers. Like I said, keeping it simple!

La Contessa said...

GREAT POST!
TODAY IS THE DAY FOR THE TREE.........I HOWEVER AM IN NO HURRY!NO ONE IS COMING FOR CHRISTMAS SONS HAVE OTHER THINGS TO DO!I COULD SKIP THE WHOLE THING!WE GO INTO LOCKDOWN TOMORROW FOR A MONTH.......SO NO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AT ALL!CAN ONLY MOVE FOR ESSENTIALS........GROCERY STORE AND DOCTORS!TALK ABOUT A DOWNER BUT IF IT WILL SAVE LIVES I CAN PLAY ALONG!!!!!!!!
I WILL NOT SHARE OR MAYBE I WILL YOUR COOKED SPAGHETTI WITH THE ITALIAN!
HE WILL ROLL HIS EYES AND SAY YOU AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!!
YOU CAN COOK RIGATONI WITH RAGU SAUCE AND SOME MOZZARELLA ON TOP!THAT IS APPROVED!
BUT I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THIS WILL NOT PASS MUSTER!!!!!!
I HAVENOT SEEN YOUR YOGURT IN OUR STORE WILL KEEP EYES PEELED!
I JUST FINISHED THE GAMBIT.......WOW THE LAST EPISODE!GAVE ME CHILLS!!!!!!!
ENJOY WHAT YOU CAN.........NO DEADLINE FOR US WE ARE ALWAYS OUT HERE IN CYBERVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XXXX

Jeanie said...

Hi Jane, I'm so glad to learn I'm not the only one who hasn't had their home decorated for at least a week. I had the best-laid plans go astray -- I was going to start TG Friday and put my back out on Thanksgiving. It took about a week to be able to do much at all and even now, I'm slow. But I do have some trees up. No decorations on them yet, apart from the garland they were put to bed with, but the lights cheer me. I'll wait for Rick to do the big one. And a slightly better back.

It's just us two for Christmas. I don't care. I'll do all I can or feel like doing. I realized I do it for me, not for anyone else to see. So, it's what cheers me, even if it is far too much for my little house!

I adored The Queen's Gambit.

Eating habits and cravings -- I've actually lost 12 pounds during Covid and I'm not sure how. I guess with someone else doing my shopping there aren't impulse purchases and less junky food. Which isn't to say I wouldn't kill for a never ending supply of Trader Joe's salted peanut butter pretzels or very sharp cheese. And I enjoy your recipes -- the one with the beef noodles and ginger is calling me.

Reading and watching -- well, I just finished the worst book I've ever read called "The Queen's Secret," a historical fiction novel about the Queen Mum. I can't decide whether to toss it in the trash where it belongs or pass it on. I hate passing on bad writing -- it sounds worse than my tortured soul journals as a teen and young adult. Hilary Mantel's new one is on the shelf but too many pages for before Christmas so I think I'll dip into another mystery by one of my favorites, Donna Leon or Elly Griffiths. Part of the comfort food of December.

I'm into "Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas," on Netflix now that I finished The Crown And up for some holiday specials. And anything Brit.

Our holiday plans -- just Rick and me. If it's not a miserable day, we might have a VERY short outside with the kids as they head north but they aren't quite so Covid conscious as we are. They think they are but the toddlers are in day care and it won't surprise me if I see activity on their FB pages. I'm OK with that. I haven't been, but I've come to the point that Christmas isn't canceled, just different. And next year it will perhaps be back to "normal," whatever that is. That said, I have yet to mail gifts or shop.

I'm basically home. I'm doing ALL the precautions for Covid and so is Rick, apart from he goes to the grocery store, but very carefully. We even distance from each other because of that -- trying to keep six feet. That's wearing us both down but it won't be too much longer, we hope. I'm in it to win it. My only outside contacts of any closeness are medical and more of those than I wish. But hey, it's the best we can.

Whatever you do, have a merry Christmas and celebrate every day. These times make me realize how quickly they can be taken from us.

5). Do you have definitive holiday plans? What sort of precautions and protocol do you utilize right now as the pandemic is at it's all time high?

Decor To Adore said...

Your Emily is so talented. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I can't wait to try the yogurt!

Lorrie said...

I always love your long and newsy posts, and the recipe ideas. Emily's decor is lovely - you are a talented bunch.

We just finished decorating yesterday - Tim said it's too bad that no one will be coming over as it all looks so pretty with the mini lights on the mantel and piano and in the kitchen area. We have a real tree so I expect we will have many needles dropped by the end of December. It sure smells good just now! Christmas will be just the two of us and most days I'm okay with that, but sometimes I get a little blue. I'm planning a special dinner and some other special meals and trying to do as much ahead as possible.

I'm still in the midst of sewing pajamas for the grands. Since the new baby arrived Christmas was put on the back burner for a bit, but now we've pulled back from seeing any of the kids. Our daughter really needed help as she had a C-section. I looked after the older toddler. Now her husband is off on 4 months paternity leave, so they will manage fine. It hurts to not be able to cuddle the little one, though.

One batch of Christmas cookies is baked and there will be more this week. I plan on taking a basket or plateful to each of our 3 kids who all live in town now, which is just wonderful!

Christmas will be different, but we can still celebrate the birth of Christ. I think of those in camps in WWII who celebrated quietly and secretly and how the day meant much to them even in circumstances far more horrific than we have to endure.

Wishing you a most quietly merry December!

Sarah said...

Jane, as always I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing the recipes.
Decorating going slowly, but it will get done. I stretched putting the tree up over 3 days.
I'm guilty of gaining weight since March. Too much to be comfortable!!! I'm now walking daily and cutting back on sweets.
Yes, share the recipes!
I'm not reading or watching anything, though my husband was hooked on The Queen's Gambit, so I will watch it. Like you I'm trying to get back into consistent blogging. I don't like the new Blogger nor the new Pic Monkey.
No holiday plans here. Thanksgiving was a table for two, as will Christmas.
Stay well.....happy holidays.....

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

No holiday decorating has happened around here. Might take a look at what I've got and put a few things out, but not much. I like the little vignettes Emily makes. I'm crocheting and cross-stitching but never for any particular purpose, just for the joy of doing it. We just had a week of storms and gloomy weather, but the sun is back and I'm ready to do more walking. I don't often have cravings anymore, but sometimes do feed a sudden need for salt. No longer have a problem controlling my weight since I changed the way I eat many years ago. The walking also helps. And yoga at home, though I'm not always consistent with that. I've been reading a lot, only a few fiction books, mostly non-fiction that informs, opens my eyes, broadens my mind. I seem to need that now in all this craziness and the solitude this year has brought. I'm not a fan of the blogger changes at all. They made it harder to navigate, not easier. i used to be able to go into HTML to fix something that wasn't aligning right but now it makes no sense to me at all. Don't know who decided changes were needed but they did a terrible job in my opinion. Like you, I'm a very big procrastinator. Thankfully, since I'm not working and not getting together with anyone, it really doesn't matter because I don't have timelines for much of anything. :) That's good and bad, I guess. I keep trying to get some sort of daily routine, map out my week ... but can't seem to stick to it. Oh well, will take each day as it comes, always trying to learn, do better, connect in some way. My youngest son is on his last couple of days of quarantine after being exposed to covid the weekend before Thanksgiving. He was also exposed to it by his roommate who had it in May, but both times he's been fine. I'm really upset I didn't get to travel to the states this summer to see them, and I'm not sure what travel will be like next year. I for one will not be first in line for any vaccine, yet there is talk about being unable to fly without taking it. That does not sit well with me at all. Take care of yourself. Stay safe.

handmade by amalia said...

I'm taking number 3, Jane - I'd love for you to continue posting recipes. My favorites are the one that are homey and look doable and I don't need to buy ten different things for, so yours are perfect for me and always look delicious. Wishing you a most lovely December.
Amalia
xo

Gwen Moss said...

Hi Jane, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Queen's Gambit, I finished watching it myself, Jim wasn't that into it but Michael loved it too, and now he clamoring for a chess set. I don't know if I'm patient enough to want to learn chess though. There's so many other things I like to do. Emily is such a natural talent, that sleigh is so cute. And how joyful to see her including your adorable granddaughter. This is definitely a strange year. I don't think we're going home for Xmas even though my entire family will probably be through with Covid. My parents ended up getting it along with my brothers over Thanksgiving. Its pretty been pretty scary with my Dad. But i think we're through the worse part. I honestly take everything one day at a time now. But right now, he's stable thank god.
Oh I'm also one of your readers that enjoys your recipes. Stay safe and healthy with your hubby. Sending you love,
Leslie

Jen Beaudet said...

Hi Jane! I loved watching the Queen's Gambit too! I was inspired to paint her...haven't gotten to that yet. Your Thanksgiving sounds like it was nice but cold! We decided to spend it alone this year but we're going to celebrate big next Thanksgiving! Christmas is going to be similar but we might stop by my mom's for an outside chat. Such a weird time but we're trying to make the best of I, while staying safe and responsible. No one I know has gotten it but my daughter is a nurse at a hospital (sister is too) so they've been exposed unknowingly a few times. I think masks really help. I'm a hairdresser when I'm not painting but we're shutdown again in California. I plan on painting a lot! Take care! It's so nice to read your post.
Jen

Deserae said...


Your recipes sound so yummy! The whole craving thing is real. It should be interesting to see how everyone looks when we finally come out of this whole hellish pandemic. LOL....
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas...whatever that looks like :o)
XXXX
~Des

Theresa said...

My decorations have been up since the week after Thanksgiving and I am enjoying them. YES, post recipes! I love seeing these yummy dishes. I am not reading anything right now, but will check these books out. We will not have our HUGE family gathering on Christmas Eve but will have our normal Christmas morning at my Daughter's house. Gotta stay safe but still be together, just a smaller version. Enjoy your day dear friend, HUGS!

Unknown said...

Hi Jane, a lovely pre-Christmas post. I love the decorations and the sleigh from Emily. Pure Christmas. My dad gave us these reindeer he had crafted from bits of leftover furniture wood he used in designs, and they are always pride of place in my living room. it's funny how these little personal items can mean the most. You should definitely keep posting recipes. I always like to see them. XX Nancy (Stonecrop Sister)

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Your posts always leave me with so much to say, Jane!
1) We celebrate Hanukkah, which is always a minimal amount of decorating for me.
2). I'd say my one major craving has been cheese (which is the case in non-Covid times, too), but it's bordering on out of control. My fridge looks like a cheese factory, too much even for me.
3).Yes! I enjoy reading your recipes. Even though I don't love cooking, I've always been a recipe hoarder.
4). Just finished Queen's Gambit, The Undoing, and Greenleaf. Loved them all. The Home Edit on Netflix was fun and motivating - has me re-organzing every closet and drawer in my house! At least I'm finally being productive! Watching Season 4 of The Crown now. Next up, The Morning Show on Apple+ (just got a free 1-year subscription).
5). Zero holiday plans. The usual gatherings aren't happening. We were going to have just my sister over for Thanksgiving. Figured that was safe, as she's been careful. A couple of days before, we decided not to take a chance. Good thing, because she tested positive on Thanksgiving day. We were so close to possibly getting infected. Thank goodness, she really didn't have any symptoms, and is fine now. For Hanukkah, we will meet in a parking lot to physically exchange gifts, and then open them together on Zoom. I am going out way less now that cases are soaring. Can't wait for the vaccine. I was afraid to be first in line, but my doctor, who I trust, and who has been involved in Covid research, says we should take it.
Stay well, Jane, and Happy Holidays!

Melanie said...

I can only speak for myself, but I say keep posting recipes. I'm a foodie and I love to cook. Both your ginger beef recipe and the baked pasta recipe look and sound delicious. I've pinned both.

My eating habits have not changed during Covid. My weight has stayed the same. As for cravings, the past few weeks it was pomegranate seeds. Now it's citrus. I've been eating mandarin oranges every day now. I used to like yogurt, but I don't anymore for whatever reason. When I was eating it last year, I liked the brand you mentioned.

We got hooked on Queen's Gambit, too. Just one more episode to watch.

No holiday plans here because of Covid. I don't know if we'll have my mother come over on Christmas Eve or not. We do see her several times a month and we would wear masks.

Take care!

Susan said...

Your posts are wonderful and always appreciated. Recipes are outstanding. For Thanksgiving and Christmas it is just the two of us and the dog. For decorating, I seem to be adding more and more. The cheerfulness of the holiday decor makes me happy. I'm also listening to Christmas Carols and loving this. The yogurt you recommend sounds delicious and I will look for it locally. My reading includes: Dutch House and Gentleman from Moscow. Both quite enjoyable.
Stay safe and be well. All the best.

Patti @ Pandoras Box said...

Congrats on winning the Traveling Tote giveaway - I will be shipping it out in the morning. Holidays certainly will look different for us, very quiet and lots of Facetime. I LOVE the new blogger format and also have a MAC, I just click on the "insert image" beside the link icon to load pics! It is always challenging when Tech nology changes, but I did find this transition quite easy - Hope you can get used to it quickly!

Bluebird49 said...

Love the recipes! And the decorations, too. Em is so talented!
I had Covid-19 about 3 weeks ago and it is no joke. I'm not sure I'll ever get my strength back. I wheezed for 2 wks. and ran a fever for days. Honestly, it was awful, so please stay away from it!
I am not up to Christmas decor, but I'm enjoying seeing blogs and FB decorations of others. I still don't want anyone to come near me for fear they may get it. David's Crohn's might make it worse for him. Our oldest grandson, Rob, has 2 little boys two and under, and his wife Sammi is expecting again. They are thrilled with their "My Three Sons" undertaking and we are, too. Rob's mom was our daughter, Where's son. She passed at 31, from an undetected heart condition when he was 7, and he had no siblings. He's loving this growing family of his and we're so happy for him.
Ed has got a "hot" gall bladder, and had an ultrasound today which we will hear from Weds. Just hope it will cool down!
Hope you will all be well for Christmas, dear Jane!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

However you decide to spend your Christmas, I hope it is a nice one. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Mary Christmas!

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Bluebird49 said...

Hi Sweetpea! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I'm hoping you'll post about it soon. Hope all of you are well! We were both sick, but I think we're coming around! Poor Ed's having gall bladder problems and I had Covid. It doesn't play, so I hope you all can avoid it!
Sending love to you, Jane, and sincere wishes for a happy, healthy 2021! <3

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I wanted to stop back by to wish you all the best in this New Year.

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56steps said...

I know this is an older post but I just saw your recipe for your beef ramen and wanted to say how good it sounds.
I'm definitely going to give it a try.

Debra

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